It’s with a tremendous amount of sadness I pass along this message I received last evening from Chad Sullivan, son of former NAOOA President Richard Sullivan. I’ve also attached a letter to the membership from AFI Chairman Tom White.
Richard Sullivan, 77, died on January 3, 2012. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Barbara Ann Schiebel and children: Chad, Bart and Elan. Richard was predeceased by his youngest son, Marc, in 2005. He is also survived by Bart’s wife, Jennifer Kelly Sullivan, and their three children, Eamon, Grace and Sean and by Elan and Will Briggs’ infant, Ambrose. Richard was the seventh born of eleven children of Thomas and Margaret Sullivan of Brooklyn, NY. Upon graduation from St. John’s University in 1956 he entered the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a Missionary Congregation. Leaving the Oblates in 1968 he married Barbara Ann Schiebel, a former Sister of St. Joseph. She and the family she brought forth replaced the loneliness of the priesthood with the deepest love, friendship and happiness for which one could hope. In business, Richard enjoyed a career in Association Management in the food industry where he quickly came to respect the integrity of the companies in the food industry. Serving those companies was not work. It was pleasure. He retired as President of the Association of Food Industries, Inc. at the end of 2001 and embarked on a new career: teaching the Catholic religion to youngsters, visiting the sick and befriending those in prison. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be sent in Richard’s memory to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. (Father Thomas Delaney,Sociedade Oblatos de Maria Imaculada,Rua Gustavo A. Bequer 27,Jardin Floresta04836-050Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo Brazil)
Wake services to be held Friday, January 6th, 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at Clayton & McGirr Funeral Home, 100 Elton-Adelphia Road, Freehold Township, NJ 07728. Mass to follow 10:00 a.m., Saturday, January 7th at St. Robert Bellarmine, 61 Georgia Road, Freehold, NJ 07728.
Dick told me a few months ago that several years ago he said to one of his brothers that he would have no complaint if he died then because his life had been so blessed and happy. When he told me that, Dick knew he was very sick and would likely not live much longer. In spite of that, he still had a great attitude.
Dick Sullivan’s contributions to the olive oil industry are immeasurable. His vision and hard work helped take olive oil from a specialty item to a mainstream kitchen staple. He began his work in the olive oil sector in the late 1970s, took it to a new level in the mid 1980s by helping to create the NAOOA and led countless industry initiatives up until his retirement. His commitment to work for the good of the entire olive oil sector never wavered.
On several occasions Dick referred to people he admired as gems. I can think of no better word to describe my former boss, my mentor and my friend.
President, Association of Food Industries